New eras in Westmeath inter-county football and hurling began earlier tonight, as Westmeath GAA county board delegates ratified Jack Cooney and Joe Quaid for the respective roles.
And in what will be seen as a huge fillip for the hurling fraternity, it was confirmed that Raharney’s Johnny Greville is to join Quaid as a selector and manager of the county’s U20 hurlers.
Coralstown/Kinnegad clubman Cooney becomes the first homegrown Westmeath manager in 26 years, replacing Colin Kelly, who stepped down during the summer.
A veteran of many years’ service in the maroon jersey, Cooney cut his teeth on the inter-county scene as a selector under Luke Dempsey, and then under Páidí Ó Sé during Westmeath’s historic first Leinster SFC win in 2004. His appointment re-establishes the link with that golden summer.
Since then, Cooney has coached at various clubs – including his native Coralstown/Kinnegad – and for a time, was also involved with the Donegal senior football setup.
After his ratification tonight I’d like to congratulate Jack Cooney on becoming the new @westmeath_gaa senior football manager. Absolutely great appointment and I wish him, his management and the players the very best of luck for 2019. #rightmanforthejob— Alan Mangan (@BuddaM13) September 13, 2018
Des Maguire (Mullingar Shamrocks), a member of the committee appointed to seek out a new manager – which included legendary Westmeath forward Dessie Dolan – said that seven candidates were interested in the football job.
“After a long, drawn out process, after the second round of interviews, we settled on Jack Cooney,” said Mr Maguire, with county board chairman Billy Foley adding that the committee was “impressed immensely” by the new manager’s “passionate proposal”.
“It’s a breath of fresh air, and the start of a new era,” said Mr Foley.
Coming on board with Cooney as a selector is former Offaly footballer Pascal Kellaghan, who was in the reverse role with Cooney as Rhode claimed back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017.
Also joining the team are Garrycastle’s Cathal Mullin (goalkeeping coach) – who was between the sticks for Westmeath during that famous run to through the Qualifiers in 2001 – and Mullingar’s Joe Nangle as strength and conditioning coach.
Meanwhile, it was also confirmed that Damien Gavin will remain as U20 football manager for 2018, along with his management team of David Martin, Peter Tormey and Marius Gavin.
With the football dealt with, Matty Conaty, a member of the hurling selection committee, officially proposed Limerick’s Joe Quaid as the new Westmeath senior hurling manager.
Former Treaty County goalkeeper Quaid, a popular appointment, recently steered Kildare’s hurlers to the Christy Ring Cup
Mr Conaty said that there were five “excellent candidates” for the role, one of whom was the current Westmeath senior camogie manager Johnny Greville.
He also confirmed that former Raharney player and manager Greville would be joining Quaid’s setup as a selector and coach, and as manager of the U20 side. Greville will also remain in his role with Westmeath’s senior camogie side.
Best of Luck to Joe Quaid— Johnny Greville (@johnny_greville) September 13, 2018
I look forward to working with Joe as part of his Senior Mgt team as Selector.
A Busy 2019 awaits Looking forward to my Role as Westmeath u20 Hurling Boss.
I’ll also be continuing As Westmeath Camogie Manager in 2019 #thejourneycontinues#westmeathrising
With Greville on Quaid’s team will be Dubliner and former Oulart the Ballagh and Dublin U21 boss Shane O’Brien, and Limerick’s Willie Banks as goalkeeping coach.
“The one thing we expect whether they are existing county players or new ones coming in is a phenomenal work-rate, Quaid told WestmeathGAA.ie today, when asked about his plans for Westmeath. “Looking at the last round of championship there are guys who have put their hands up work-rate wise. We want to develop everyone.
“Every player that comes into the panel needs to work really hard because we are going to put in the work. If everyone is willing to row in the one direction I think we’ll have a really good set-up.”